I don’t know what it’s called…

…but there’s definitely a “something” that I feel when leaving the forest and hills and trails on my weekend outings.  I would offer that it’s almost a tangible sadness, but that’s not precise enough, I don’t think.  There is a…I don’t know, maybe a separation occurring somewhere in my soul, my core, a literal leaving of something that speaks deeper than words, that moves, maybe, in a way that simply cannot be defined.  For the hours that I’m out there, the notion is essentially absent, I’m not worrying about leaving, not preoccupied with the loss that is around the eventual next ridge or hillside, I’m not thinking about it at all…but when that last draw has been passed or the last canyon crossed, or when I’ve come to the place in those long upward trails where my body is not responding to my mind’s bidding and jamming up the slopes with as much fervor as it did those hours ago and I decide that it’s time to rest for a bit and then turn around and head back, within that instant, or in one of the several that shortly follow that one, the sensation of a coming loss becomes real and my heart and mind know that all of the things I have so loved for the last however many hours will be shoved away for another week or so until I am out there again.  And no, it’s not that I “have” to go home…I am not dreading my return to family life and work and responsibilities and whatever else.  That’s not it at all.  I love and enjoy my family and my life and home and work and all of that…I’m not dreading what I am returning to, I’m immediately missing what I am in the act of leaving.  Yes, I am attached to those in my life whom I love…but I’m strangely attached, too, to whatever it is in those forests and hills, as well…those crazy-tall mountains that fill the eastern horizon with their canyons and draws and the rugged rocks and crags that adorn the mountain-sides, all the varieties of trees and bushes and groundcovers, the moss on the rocks and scrub oak, even the fallen and decaying leaves with their smell of sweet rot and life, mingling with the perfumes of new buds and leaves and spring flowers that brave the cold and wind on their bare hillside homes.  I don’t know what it is, really, but it’s something…it’s something that I’m attached to and I feel a genuine separation and loss when it’s time to leave.  Maybe it’s like leaving the peace and quiet of a beautiful sanctuary or temple and returning to a loud and profane world of city and cars and signs and electrical poles and streets and sidewalks and airplanes….  Whatever it is that draws me out there, I start to miss it before I’m gone.


6 responses

  1. Becky

    Beautifully written…this is similar to how I feel when I leave the ocean. I can see it for a short period of time in my rear view mirror and then it is gone but the wonderful memories linger.

    March 26, 2011 at 11:32 am

    • Thank you, Becky…and yes, I know that pull of the ocean, so similar to this, yet so identifiable as its own…and with wonderful memories, indeed.

      March 26, 2011 at 1:57 pm


    Yes, I can most definitely understand what you are saying. There really is no precise way to define the feeling you have for these trees and rocks, but it definitely, definitely is something. Fortunately, however, you don’t have to leave it for months or years at a time, but just for a day or a few days, and then you can come back 🙂

    March 27, 2011 at 5:36 am

    • Yes, Nathan, it’s still right there…just down the road…so close you might not even finish a cup of coffee on the way from the house to the trail. Thank you for visiting again. 🙂

      March 27, 2011 at 6:40 am

  3. Yes. Me too.

    It comes upon me suddenly and unbidden, and without a sense of dread for what i am returning to. It is a kind of lonesomeness that creeps gently in and sits with me, curled up inside despite deep exhalations. Rumi said that the longing is the connection. Perhaps this is why the feeling doesn’t trouble me.

    June 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    • What a nice complement to the post, Melanie…thank you for stopping by…and for leaving a note in your passing. 🙂

      June 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm

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